Baker Skateboards is an American skateboarding company founded in 2000 by professional skateboarder Andrew Reynolds and artist Jay Strickland. The company's main products are skateboard decks, soft goods, accessories, and wheels.
In 1999 Reynolds left Birdhouse Skateboards and started Baker Skateboards along with other professional skateboarders from Stereo, Zero, and other companies. The company was named after a lifestyle in which a person smokes a lot of weed. In 2007, Reynolds provided a detailed account of the company's beginnings:
Well, I was living in Huntington, riding for Birdhouse. We just thought to ourselves, all these companies are really lame. Like, Birdhouse doesn't promote piles, you know what I mean? Like, Zero's [skateboard deck brand] not promoting, like, what we're all about. You know, we met up with Jay Strickland, we started telling him about our ideas, like, "We wanna do something. We wanna do a company." And we're, like, "All of us, together.", you know? It was just, like, a big mess, you know? I went and talked to Tony [Hawk] and Per [Welinder]—"It's either, I quit, and take a bunch of guys and do something, or, you guys help me start a company, you know?"
The skateboard deck brand signed a distribution deal with Blitz Distribution, the company that, at the time, was distributing Birdhouse and other brands, such as Fury and Hook-Ups (Blitz had originally been formed by Per Welinder and Hawk to distribute their own products). As of 2008, the brand was the top-selling brand under the Blitz Distribution umbrella. In regard to the original Baker logo, Reynolds has credited the design to Strickland and stated that it represented a motley company that consisted of talented skateboarders.
Leo Romero left the Baker team in April 2009, and his departure led to a great amount of discussion among skateboarders and fans. In an interview that was held during the same week that he joined the Toy Machine team, Romero explained that he was generally unhappy with his life at the time and his decision was not due to problems experienced while at Baker. Romero described his experience with announcing the decision: "Calling Andrew Reynolds and quitting his company is kinda scary, you know what I mean? When I told him he was like, 'Oh, that’s cool man, who are you gonna ride for?'" In April 2011, Romero was again asked the question and, after stating that he was "sick" of the question, he explained that he didn't fit in at Baker and the company had changed from when he was a young skateboarder. Romero was awarded Thrasher magazine's "Skateboarder of the Year" trophy in 2010.
Riley Hawk, son of professional skateboarder and company owner Tony Hawk, joined the Baker team in 2012 after riding for his father's company, Birdhouse. Tony Hawk explained in a May 2012 interview that Reynolds had spoken with him first and he appreciated that his son was not being chosen as a "novelty" rider, in addition to Riley Hawk's admiration of the Baker team. According to Tony Hawk, Reynolds explained that he had great respect for Riley Hawk's skateboarding and believed that his skateboarding was unlike that of his peers. Tony Hawk further explained that he just wants his son to be motivated, as the expectation associated with being Tony Hawk's son impacted upon Riley Hawk's motivation during the early stages of his skateboarding.
An interview with former Baker professional Shane Heyl on September 27, 2013 confirmed that Heyl, Kevin "Spanky" Long, Jeff Lenoce, and Braydon Szafranski are no longer members of the Baker team as of the date of the interview. Heyl declined to speak on behalf of the other former Baker riders, but explained that he initiated the decision regarding himself with Reynolds, whereby he stated to the company owner that his knee is an ongoing issue.
In December 2013, Hawk was assigned professional status by Baker at a surprise event that occurred on Hawk's birthday. Tony Hawk announced the news to his son and professional skateboarders Mike Carroll, Rick Howard and Stevie Williams were among those present. Longtime team member Dustin Dollin revealed in an April 2014 radio iunterview with Thrasher that Hawk's signature skateboard deck achieved sales figures that the company had not seen in a long period and Baker "really needed it".
For the "Fall 2014" catalog, released in September/October 2014, Reynolds collaborated with Australian musician Nick Cave for the production of a skateboard deck. The design on the bottom of the skateboard deck features an image of Cave in the process of lighting a cigarette (repeated three times), while wearing a t-shirt that reads "Suck My Dick." Reynolds said: "NICK CAVE HAS BEEN ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS FOR YEARS NOW, AND I AM SUPER EXCITED TO DO THIS BOARD WITH HIM!!!"
Cyril Jackson was appointed professional status in mid-January 2015. At the time of the announcement, he was photographed by Deathwish team member, Antwuan Dixon, alongside Ellington, who held up one of Jackson's first skateboard deck graphics. Dee Ostrander was announced pro in July 2015 just before the upcoming Baker Summer Tour.
The RIDE Channel, a YouTube skateboarding channel cofounded by Hawk, announced on March 15, 2013 that a new series, entitled "Baker Zone", would commence on March 18, 2013. The series features video productions from the Baker company, such as "Weekend Warriors", "Piled Out", "Trash Compactor" and "Dumb Ass Park Footy".
- Andrew "The Boss" Reynolds
- Dustin Dollin
- Terry Kennedy
- Bryan Herman
- Justin "Figgy" Figueroa
- Theotis Beasley
- Don "Nuge" Nguyen
- Riley Hawk
- Sammy Baca
- Cyril Jackson
- Kevin "Spanky" Long ( http://instagram.com/p/0BuBpMwQ8-/ )
- Dee Ostrander
- Rowan Zorilla
- Tristan "T-funk" Funkhouser
- Aaron Ruiz
Former team members
- Antwuan Dixon (RAWDOGRAW)
- Jim Greco (Deathwish)
- Erik Ellington (Deathwish)
- Leo Romero (Toy Machine)
- Mike Maldonado
- Braydon Szafranki
- Jeff Lenoce
- Shane Heyl
- Knox Godoy
- Evan Hernandez
Bakerboys Distribution, a company that distributes seven brands, some of which are owned by past and current Baker riders:
- Baker Skateboards
- Shake Junt
- Ashbury Shades
- Deathwish Skateboards
- Volume 4
- Heroin skateboards
- Palace skateboards
- Death Lens
- Illegal Civilization
Formerly with the Blitz distribution company, Baker's distribution was newly managed by Bakerboys in 2011.
The Palace skateboard brand, which won the "Brand of the Year" award at Europe's Brighton Trade Show in January 2012, announced a distribution deal with Bakerboys in July 2014. The video appeared on the "PWBC News" series that Palace produces.
Former Deathwish professional Antwuan Dixon was imprisoned in mid-2013 and stated in a July 2014 Thrasher magazine interview—conducted by Reynolds and Ellington—that he is scheduled to be released on August 23, 2014. Dixon also explained that he may be released earlier:
They say the 23rd, but I’ve been in this high-school-diploma program so I can get my high school diploma and you get milestone credits. And with these milestone credits you can earn six weeks, which means 42 days off. So if that goes through I should be getting out the beginning of July.
Deathwish released a tribute skateboard deck in June 2014 to provide Dixon with a financial base to rebuild his life after his release from prison. The deck was sold with a letter from Ellington explaining Dixon's situation and his relationship to Deathwish/Bakerboys ("Antwuan is one of the reasons we started Deathwish. He's been here since day one and he'll be here as long as we are."), in addition to a pre-addressed envelope for owners of the decks to be able to send Dixon a letter while he remained in prison.
Created by England-born artist Mark "Fos" Foster, the Heroin brand was named after Fos' addiction to "skateboarding". The global premiere of the Heroin skateboards video, Video Nasty, was held in Los Angeles, US on June 27, 2013 and includes parts from Chet Childress, Deer Man of Dark Woods, Daniel Shimizu, Gou Myagi, Rogie and Tom Day. Foster's debut American art show, "Diamonds And The Rough", was presented at the Kingswell gallery in Los Angeles, US on June 14, 2014.
The Palace brand was founded around 2009 in England, United Kingdom (UK) by Lev Tanju, who was part of a London-based skate crew known as the Palace Wayward Boys Choir. Tanju enlisted the assistance of friends like graphic designer Fergus “Fergadelic” Purcell (also design director at Marc by Marc Jacobs) and photographer Will Bankhead to launch the brand. Tanju explained in 2014: "I just wanted to make some skateboards that looked nice and skated nice." As of July 2014, the Palace team consists of Chewy Cannon, Shawn Powers, Benny Fairfax, Danny Brady, Lucien Clarke, Olly Todd, Charlie Young and Rory Milanes.
Greco's skateboard and clothing brand "Hammers" was launched in October 2014 as part of Bakerboys Distribution. Greco explained in August 2014 that the brand is "based on individuality, the pure moment of creation ... It's just based on creating." In the first Hammers catalog, Greco explains that the company's products are made in the U.S. "which in turn creates American jobs and manufactures better products."
- Baker Bootleg (1998)
- Baker 2G (2000)
- Summer Tour 2001 (2002)
- Baker 3 (2005)
- Baker Has a Deathwish (2008)
- Baker Has a Deathwish Summer Tour Video (2009)
- Bake And Destroy (2012)
- The Deathwish Video (2013)
- Baker skateboards (2012). "Product". Baker skateboards. Baker Boys Distribution. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- RIDEChannel (4 September 2012). "Insight With Andrew Reynolds (Part 1 of 2)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Patrick O'Dell (January 2008). "Andrew Reynolds' Madness – Epicly Later'd" (Video upload). Vice. Vice Media. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- Rob Brink (29 November 2010). "An unseen interview with Skater of the Year, Leo Romero". RobBrink.com. Rob Brink. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "Leo Romero Ask the Pros Part 1" (Video upload). Active Ride Shop on YouTube. Google Inc. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "SKATER OF THE YEAR 2010 WINNER" (Video upload). Thrasher. High Speed Productions. 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "RILEY HAWK is PRO!!!" (Video upload). RIDE CHannel on YouTube. Google Inc. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
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- "Team". Baker Skateboards. Baker Boys Distribution. December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
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- "Palace: The Next Episode". TransWorld SKATEboarding. TEN. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- "Palace wins Brand of the Year". Grey. Grey. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- Andrew Reynolds & Erik Ellington (July 2014). "Antwuan Dixon Interview". Thrasher. High Speed Productions. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
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- "0:00 / 10:42 Skate Talk Bob, Boosh & Fos: Nudity, Broken Noses & Social Distortion! Weekend Buzz ep. 66 part 1" (Video upload). RIDE Channel on YouTube. Google Inc. 7 June 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- David Broach. "Video Nasty Premiere Photos". Thrasher. High Speed Productions. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "Diamonds And The Rough By Fos". SLAP. High Speed Productions, Inc. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- GRAHAM HIEMSTRA (7 July 2014). "The Rise of Palace: How Today's Coolest Skate Brand Went Global". Complex Style. Complex Media. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- "Definitely Brady". Palace. Palace. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- "Team". Palace. Palace. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- "Danny Brady & Benny Fairfax On Palace". TransWorld SKATEboarding. TEN. 2 June 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- Hunter Charlton (20 August 2014). "SKATEBOARDING IS JIM GRECO'S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH". Vice. Vice Media Inc. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Jim Greco (October 2014). "Holiday 2014 catalog". Bakerboys Distribution. Bakerboys Distribution. p. 40. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Baker Skateboards skate videos". Skatevideosite.com. Skatevideosite.com. 2005–2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- Ride Channel (31 March 2013). "The Deathwish Video Premiere" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 31 August 2013.